In the early 1900s, the decline of immigrants crossing the oceans had shipowners searching for new ways to make money. Their ingenuity ushered in a new era in travel, commercial luxury tourism.
Passenger ships now catered to wealthy Americans hungry for transcontinental adventures. Extravagantly designed showpiece “ships of states” and new steamers appeared offering spacious, luxurious, and safer travel. These were the first cruise ships in history. They transported passengers on leisure voyages to hot spots around the globe.
Before this, luxury travel was only available to incredibly wealthy Europeans. It was a right of passage for affluent youth to travel through the exotic lands of Asia. The trinkets and treasures they returned with influenced design from the late Victorian era throughout the Art Deco period. They were especially fond of the intricately hand-carved jade found in China. They weren’t the only ones mesmerized by these vibrant stones.
In the mid-1900s, a family from Maryland spent approximately three months traveling aboard a steamship. Crossing the ocean and finding their way to China. Transfixed by the otherworldly glow of jade, they brought home a necklace. It’s a hand-carved jadeite jade pendant suspended from an intricately designed sterling silver and enamel chain. This piece is the perfect melding of traditional Chinese design and the height of Art Deco fashion. For over 100 years, the family held on to this excellent souvenir.
For more antique jewelry in Northern Virginia visit Jewelry By Designs in Smoketown Station at 2932 Prince William Pkwy, Woodbridge, VA 22192.
Photos of this antique jade necklace are from Modern Princess Series Vol. 6. Producing and Styling by Sentimental Fools. Photography by Alicia Wiley Photography. Macarons and location Sacre Sucre. Hair and makeup by Made Up My Grind. Wardrobe provided by Bella Bridesmaids and Whitney Newland. Model Living Alexis.